10 Aug 2022

Owning and running the Tory Island hotel is certainly a family affair

The Rodgers family run the much-loved Tory Island hotel

Owning and running the Tory Island hotel is certainly a family affair

Owning and running a hotel on Tory is well and truly a family affair on the country’s most remote inhabited island. Located close to the pier, the hotel has been the main venue for many of the island’s most important events and announcements over the years. 

Wearing a soft grey jumper dotted with pearls, Jackie sits on a chair in the dining room. Paintings by Rory Rodgers of fishing boats and meandering island roads hang on walls and the window behind Jackie frames foam-crested waves under still blue skies. 

Speaking in seamless Gaeilge, Jackie recalls that their ownership of the hotel was announced on Good Friday. Walking through the dining room, her youngest daughter, Anne Marie, confirms they began working in the hotel on April 23. Jackie says they are kept busy adding that she and her husband Jimmy have their family working for them. Jackie and Jimmy ran the local shop and post office for years and the businesses remain firmly within the family. 

The second week in July sees tourists geared up in walking gear in the hotel lobby sipping tea and planning their day. Jackie says there is a constant stream of people in and out of the hotel keeping them busy every day. 

One of the main attractions to the island which lies nine miles off the coast is wildlife. Puffins, seals, rabbits, birds are common to the island and at times dolphins weave in and out of the sea which surrounds the small island. 

Many of the family have experience working in the hospitality and service industry. Jimmy worked in McGinley’s bar in Letterkenny and also in the Mount Errigal Hotel. He also ran the club on the island. Her daughter Anne Marie and son Darren worked in the island hotel.

Over the years, Jackie recalled hearing islanders saying they would love to see a family run the hotel and as a result the Rodgers family eagerly undertook the enterprise. Jackie and Jimmy have five of a family; Gary, Darren, Hughie, Seán and Anne Marie.

Jackie says her family is now old enough to run a business. There are other members of staff working in the hotel too Jackie says as Lauren sets crisp white tablecloth on a table behind her. 

Jackie enjoys her work and notes that people from around the world come to stay on the island. She plans to keep the hotel open during the winter to provide somewhere for the islanders to eat and socialise. 

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